Celeste Godinez

By Erick Huerta on

Celeste Godinez At age 15, Celeste Godinez spent her weekends at the Long Beach Port watching the boats dock and the diesel big-rigs pull away leaving thick trails of exhaust behind them. Located in the Los Angeles Basin, the large shipping yard yields some of the worst pollution in the nation, with thousands of area residents facing serious …

Pushing Back Against Wage Theft

By Erick Huerta on

For many low-income workers, securing a decent hourly wage is the holy grail. Unfortunately, collecting on that promised wage all too often becomes a battle they are forced to fight alone, usually with no hope of recovering the lost pay. Last month, two members of City Council, Paul Koretz and Gil Cedillo, along with the …

SCOPE’s Members: The Foundation of Our Change

By Erick Huerta on

At SCOPE, a big part of our message is, and has always been, simply this: as residents of South LA, we are the ones who will make the change we seek. And we disseminate that message—throughout our community, to our city government, to businesses wanting to set up shop in our region—through the foundation of …

“Renters Make LA Work. It’s Time to Make LA Work for Renters.”

By Erick Huerta on

“Renters Make LA Work. It’s Time to Make LA Work for Renters.” Within a day after Mayor Eric Garcetti presented  his plans for revitalizing Los Angeles during his first term, media coverage of affordable housing issues—a topic conspicuously left out of his agenda—spread across news outlets. “Californians can’t afford their rents,” read the first line …

What’s Missing From the Mayor’s Agenda?

By Erick Huerta on

What’s Missing From the Mayor’s Agenda? On April 10, Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his first State of the City address at the California Science Center, which focused on defining his “back to basics” agenda in Los Angeles. This is a talking point he’s used since before taking office last year—a phrase that suggests a strong …

Restoring Equity to the City Budget

By Erick Huerta on

Restoring Equity to the City Budget With two weeks to go before Mayor Eric Garcetti releases his proposed city budget for the next fiscal year, community members and representatives of nearly 18 Los Angeles organizations gathered on the steps of City Hall on March 21 to voice their concerns about the sluggish economy, and to …

Maria Rutledge

By Erick Huerta on

Maria Rutledge Maria Rutledge had lived in her South Los Angeles home for about 50 years without having to make any major repairs to it. So, naturally, when she realized that her heater’s floor switch was broken, she didn’t think twice about replacing the toggle herself. But a few days before jumping into the project, …

California’s Prisons: Are They Fighting Crime, or Causing It?

By Erick Huerta on

California’s Prisons: Fighting Crime, or Causing It? In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California’s prisons were so overcrowded that the state was actually violating the 8th Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling was based on the prison system subjecting inmates to the physical and psychological harm that arises when people …

What Police Should Be Doing For Us—Not to Us

By Erick Huerta on

What Police Should Be Doing For Us—Not to Us Last week Vincent Warren, executive director of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, put the practice of Stop and Frisk in perspective: Speaking to Los Angeles residents gathered at Community Coalition’s headquarters on South Vermont Avenue, he invoked the memory of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed …

L.A.’s New Budget: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?

By Erick Huerta on

L.A.’s New Budget: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? At the beginning of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first of three presentations on the future of city budgeting last Thursday, Rick Cole, Deputy Mayor of Budgeting and Innovation, compared Los Angeles to a luxury vehicle—to make a point about the administration’s new approach to allocating funding. Taking a …